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Healing your addiction to sociopaths

Lovefraud recently received the following email from a woman whom we’ll call “Peggy Sue.”

I feel hopeless. I’m a target for sociopaths, or I’m addicted to them. My ex-fiancé was one. I was with him 7 years and was abused everyway possible. I was so confused with the lies and double life. He said I was crazy and I went on tons of medication and was completely isolated.

I finally was able to leave after 7 years with the help of police, only to move back to my dads with nothing and to start all over. A month later fell in love with another sociopath. My friends and family think I’m gonna end up dead by him or killing myself.

I have been to therapy they all just say move out and leave. I can’t that’s the problem. If I leave I always come back, like I’m addicted to sociopath men. If I finally get to the point of leaving, I just meet and love the next sociopathic man.

My life is passing me by. I’m depressed, lost, confused. Please help. Is there any hope for me?

Yes, Peggy Sue, you can turn this around. The key is to focus on your own healing.

Addiction and the brain

A few weeks ago, I explained why involvements with sociopaths are so addictive. The article includes a video of Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, explaining how romantic love affects the brain. You can read the article here:

Love addiction with a sociopath

Here’s another article written by Dr. Liane Leedom on the same topic:

Why you can be addicted to a sociopath

Okay, so addiction to a sociopathic relationship is a known psychological phenomenon. It causes changes in the brain. It causes you to feel compelled to stay involved with destructive individuals.

To overcome this addiction, you need to focus on your own healing. Here are the steps to take.

1. No Contact

First, you need to break away from the current sociopath. That means no contact with him or her.

  • No phone calls
  • No text messages
  • No emails
  • No in-person meetings
  • No visits to his or her Facebook page

Take all necessary steps to prevent the person from contacting you. Block phone calls and email. Don’t let anyone who knows the individual tell you what he or she is doing or saying.

Establishing No Contact can be difficult. Why? Because you’re addicted! So, just like anyone who is trying to break an addiction to smoking, drugs, alcohol or anything else, take it one day at a time. Promise yourself not to contact the person today, and get through the day. Do the same thing tomorrow. And the same thing the next day.

This advice assumes that you were in a dating relationship and you can walk away. You don’t have to have contact because of kids, working together, or some other unavoidable involvement. But even if you can’t totally block interaction, you need to strive for emotional No Contact. That means you want to get to the point that the person simply does not matter to you.

Just like an alcoholic trying to get off of booze, you need to stick with the program. I’ve heard from many Lovefraud readers who felt they were “strong enough” to interact with the sociopath, only to find that any contact sent them into a tailspin.

The longer you stay away, the stronger you’ll get. But if you break the No Contact rule, you may need to start rebuilding yourself all over again.

2. Do not date

If you are ending up with a succession of sociopaths, it means there is pain or vulnerability within you that attracts them. And of course you are wounded you’ve been involved with sociopaths!

So, for the time being, do not date. At all. Do not join an online dating site. Do not let a well-meaning friend fix you up. Do not go places where the primary activity is looking for someone to pick up. Give yourself a breather.

This does not mean you should isolate yourself. On the contrary, fill your life with family, friends and activities that you enjoy. Keep yourself busy. Earn a certificate or degree that will help your career. Do volunteer work. Fill your life with fun and supportive people—even if they aren’t dates.

3. Heal the vulnerabilities

The secret to finding a good relationship is to become whole and healthy yourself. This doesn’t just happen it requires effort on your part. I urge you to commit yourself to healing the vulnerabilities.

This means looking at your actual experiences, not sweeping them under the carpet. It means acknowledging that you were injured, and figuring out how to move past the injury.

You may need assistance to do this. Use whatever method works for you psychological counseling, self-help programs, prayer or meditation, peer groups such as Lovefraud. Just be sure that anyone you ask to help you understands what it’s like to be targeted by a sociopath, or at least believes you when you tell them what happened.

It can be scary and painful to face your experiences, but it’s worth it. The process may take time, because sociopaths don’t just cause one injury, they inflict a multitude of lies, manipulations and betrayals, and you’ll need to excavate many of them. Please be patient and gentle with yourself.

The good news is that once you process your emotions and release them, you are free of them. In time, with the vulnerabilities healed, you’ll feel much more happy and peaceful. And your hard-won wisdom about the behavior of sociopaths, even if another one does show up there are so many of them in the world that it is certainly possible you’ll quickly spot him or her, and have the strength to get away quickly.

Focus on building a happy and joyful life for yourself, even if you are temporarily unattached to a partner. If you do, the right person will come along, and you’ll be ready.

 


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58 Comments on "Healing your addiction to sociopaths"

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Such great advice – thank you so much!

Idealism is a drug……it makes you feel good while it is killing you.

I too thought I was strong enough to have “contact” with him, its to emotional and draining, it took me so many times to learn!! NO CONTACT is the Most Important!! Good Luck!

It was hell after breaking up with my spath, cause he put me through hell. I stuck to my guns and time healed.

I am still looking at men, not looking hard, just playing it safe. I have wrote off so many and wrote them off quickly! When I write them off it is for good reason. If he’s being pushy, he’s gone. If he turns a innocent conversation about gardening into a sexual one, he’s gone. The guy asked about my tan lines when I was talking about the pumpkins I grew from seed. I wrote him off so quick! Or if he says he is broke this week. Or if he complains about his ex. Or if he wants me to drive across the state to meet him.

None of this means the guy is a spath. or it could mean that very thing. I don’t take the chance.

I did get a boyfriend briefly, back in January. It barely lasted a month. I’m not happy about the outcome, but more good came out of it than bad. He fixed my broken pipe. We had a deep freeze and a water pipe broke inside the wall. And, I enjoyed my time with him while it lasted. In person he was great, but on the phone he was crabby and bitchy at me. He even bitched at me about the flying squirrel that got in my house! Anyway, there was no damage done to me from this brief relationship. I learned more awareness.

I am happier to be with friends than with a date.

This is my 2nd go-around with a spath. For all intents and purposes, it was over in January 2013 and in March 2013 I was taking steps to put the NC effect into place. I changed my #, and blocked her on Facebook. Before it actually dawned on me that she could still email me, I received 3 DAYS worth of emails asking me, then demanding me, to give her my new #. She actually went to my closest lady friend and asked her for it and she refused. She deleted her and blocked her on Facebook. I finally gave in. It was a HUGE mistake. After 2 weeks, I realized she had no interest in obtaining my new # to communicate with me (90 % of our communication took place through emails, Facebook posts/messages and texting) – it was all the pursuit and reward. I changed it again back in April, and sent her a nice text letting her know I’d be there for her if she needed someone to talk to. She said she didn’t know why I contacted her – she didn’t ask me for my new #. That’s when I knew she was done with me. I became friends with someone she knew but it was as if I was still contacting my ex. I had a major falling out with the friend over her betrayal of my trust in her and deleted her from my phone, blocked her on Facebook, blocked her IM screen name and her emails also. I learned the hard way that NC with a spath includes anyone in their circle of family and friends. Yes, it’s incredibly difficult and exhausting but it feels miles better after the smoke clears. I hope Peggy Sue has the strength to keep NO CONTACT on the top of her list while recovering.

I have been as deeply entrenched with a sociopath as is possible, having been married to one for more than 30
years and having nine children with him. Eight years ago I finally broke
away from him and separated. Because of the children, and now grandchildren, no contact has been impossible. He is capable of manipulating the children and using them as a means of punishing and isolating me. Even though I don’t live with him, he has continued going to my mother’s house for family dinner every Sunday. Because of work, I would sometimes be absent from these dinners while he continued sitting at the head of my mother’s table as the family patriarch. Because of his former abuse, emotionally and financially, I keenly felt the injustice of this. After one last recent and particularly vicious manipulation involving one of our daughters I finally mustered the courage to set one more boundary. I spoke with my mother and gained her support although she still feels “sorry for him”. I told the husband that he was not to come to my mother’s house for dinner ever again. I expected a terrible fall-out, but he remained silent on the other end of the phone. He texted me two minutes later to speak of an entirely different subject. I was amazed at his impassivity.. I was also amazed that the adult children and one last minor child also accepted the fact that their father was no longer welcome at my mother’s
house. I had dinner last Sunday with the family for the first time
without him. No one spoke of him. Life went on. I thought this would be impossibly difficult but it was as easy as setting the boundary. I just had to tell him. There may be future fall-out, but I’m relieved that this blatant encroachment is over.

I thought I was over it. Three years later, almost to the day, last week he came back in and crushed the air right out of my chest. I began hunting him down on the internet. Five sleepless nights later, I collapsed from exhaustion, the feeling of PTSD AGAIN, terrible grief, pain and anguish. He’s started a new life with yet another “famous” artist, they are traipsing all over Europe together, and I feel useless, used, without answers, torn, twisted, and still a prisoner. Back to square one, this mail arrived and I thought the timing to be a spiritual gift.

Reminder of NO CONTACT. NO FB, NO GIRLFRIEND, NO VENGEANCE. Now to pull the poison dart back out. Went out with a group of friends, and back into the land of the living. Came home, slept deeply, but dreamed once again of being abandoned, unloved, beaten, tortured, and made to feel that utter insignifance.

Rode the wave in the dream, woke up this morning, and began healing again.

When does it end?

Hurt, they have many lives with many people don’t they? The lives are shallow, and largely meaningless….masks that they don to cover the emptiness!!
Take care of your own heart Lost! Deal with this episode to say a final farewell to him from your life. He is not good for you and not good enough for you!!!

Imara and all this is my most abiding impression of the disordered man who stole 18 months of my life, that his life was a series of mask changes ( ‘ husband to x’ ‘ father to son a’ ‘ husband to y’ ‘ father to son b’ ‘ diligent employee’ ) , the masks allowed him to present as ‘ normal’ and ” stable’ for periods of time, to the outside world ( neighbours, employer, other parents) but he resented wearing them as he resents routine and loathes not be the centre of attention. Even his children have been devalued and discarded for ‘ stealing his limelight’ by the simple fact of requiring constant care, love and supervision. Under his masks he was empty, devoid of values, interests, causes, goals. This emptiness manifested as what looked on the surface like depression to his wives but really it was just simple boredom.

The solution to his boredom was to abusing his wives overtly ( sexual abuse, psychological abuse, mainly blaming, withdrawal, controlling through finances, threatens to divorce ) and covert ( porn use, infidelity, scheming to hide assets). The masks always fell off with this man because effectively he pulled them off himself, bored of wearing them and the effort of appearing to be normal.

This is why I believe psychopaths need – like we need food and water – people to abuse. Abusing gives them an intense rush , which momentarily makes them feel alive. Their true nature is visible when they are abusing, that is the closest to pleasure they getfrom what I saw and know of my abuser.

Cherith,
I’m so glad you set that boundary of not allowing your husband to be at family meals…THREE CHEERS!!! I’ve often found that people are so busy with their own lives that they really don’t make much fuss about what you’re doing in yours;sometimes they may even wonder why it took you “so long” to set that boundary!

Hurt,
I can’t imagine my husband coming back after being completely gone for 3 yrs!But so glad you’re healing again!Focus on healing!

Thank you Donna and Blossom. Sometimes if you push back, the walls come tumbling down. In fact there may never have been a wall to begin with. Next step is to file for a divorce. He may be just as impassive, as lifeless about that. He may not care — and neither may anyone else. The question I have to ask is “Why is so hard for me?”

Its hard because youre a feeling, compassionate individual who loved. You love. Your inability to love is not called into question. And letting go of being someones emotional prisoner, is a very very difficult thing to do.

I have the divorce papers unfilled sitting on my desk. Tell you what, lets jump over that bridge together. Strength in numbers.

Oh Hurt, That touched my heart!!!
Yes there is strength in compassion and in holding another’s hand in hurt!!! Robert Hare calls to “circle our wagons” while dealing with a psychopath. Hold hands and reach out in and for support…its quite the difficult ride, and always made easier with a little help from our friends.

I survived the past 8 months largely because of the hand holding and compassionate friendship of LFers. I couldn’t even tell my counselor what had happened. I was broken mentally and physically for months. It was only here I found the vocabulary concepts and recognition I needer to rebuild. Long live the Love Fraud blog community!!

Imara,

This is the only place I have to come in, talk, and tell the truth. There are parts of what happened to me that I cannot even discuss with my own family. Their attitude would be to brand me an incompetent loser. At 50 its hard to take. I feel so safe here, because all I’ve done for the last 12 years of my life is look over my shoulder.

There has to come a point when we break from the psychosis of what happened, and walk free. Walking free, sounds so simple, and yet it is often the last and most difficult step.

How many times have I come in to help others, to comment, to read and read the NO CONTACT rule. I wish so much to walk free. I’ve thought about going to the media with my story, writing a book, you name it, and there are just such personally horrible things that happened, I don’t think I could sit in a room with a camera in my face and say what happened. Im still so ashamed of what happened.

I had a very good therapist who worked with me for three years. It was the only, only way I made it this far. That and periodically coming in here, reading books from here, etc.

You help me. Im not alone. I need to know Im not alone. I lost all my friends, I was sequestered in this house for 12 years without a friend.

Thank you all for that, and each person needs to know its okay! Its okay.

Sorry for the rant, I feel so passionately about grabbing anybody’s hand, looking in their eyes directly and telling them “look at me, come on now, just look in my eyes. You see compassion, love and understanding, if I can help you, I help me too, and we can and will survive, we will walk free”.

Hurt Still

Big virtual hugs to you hurt!!!
I am over 50 too and the only way I can make sense of what happened to my life is to understand that our experiences happened to us to allow us to grow as spiritual human beings. Those that deliberately inflicted harm on us may end up being our best teachers!!! In opposing and understanding their wickedness we define our ability to be caring contributing loving people!!

Very moving and positive posts Hurt Still and Imara, just what I visit LF for, to be reminded of the presence of good hearted people whose trauma leaves them more not less loving and compassionate to others.

PS 50 is the new 25, no?

Tea!!! You gave me my laugh of the day!!
25?? My aching old bones need to hear that! I shall pass the message on!!

Hurt & Imara,
I agree so much that it is the compassion and love in us that the sociopath couldn’t destroy (although I’m sure my spath was determined to try),and our walk through their evil paths led to some severe lessons that we would only learn much later.But survive we did,and we can be proud of that…and we may feel we lost much in the beginning.But now we have the chance to rebuild our lives and plant there what we want! ((( HUGS )))

PS As Tea Says “Everybody Danth!”

I see my situation just the opposite, i think exspath did kill come of my (overactive) compassion and love and i don’t feel that was his agenda. I think he wanted me as loving and compassionate as possible, so he could use it against me. If it wasn’t compassion and love that he killed, it is probably that he taught me to set unmovable boundaries and lose all patience with BS.
R

I am a long time reader and only made a few comments under name of ThickSkullThinSkin. Thank you for telling me how to change my name to a nickname. My previous name was HIS opinion of me. This nickname is more descriptive of me as I am now.

I just wanted to thank those who are posting under this article, some are writing about being over a certain age (50)and unable to speak our truths even to those close family members – who know about the abuse – we can’t tell them details without fears that they would conclude we are incompetent losers. It is hard to overcome opinions of those people who matter to us! Our loved ones are not abusers so their opinion stings when they lack understanding of the nature of how we were abused. (took me a long time to dismiss the opinion of my abuser but once I realized who and what he was, it was not hard to say he was wrong!)

I’ve worked out so much of what and more importantly HOW I was caught in abuse and I’ve used certain words to describe my life with my abuser.

Thank you to those who write even better phrases and descriptions than I came up with. Your phases fit what I try to say. Hurt Terribly wrote the words “emotional prisoner”.

YES. That is what I was. His emotional prisoner. YES. A prisoner. YES. He had trapped me in an emotional prison. Hurt Terribly encapulates what I was in two words. And yes, like you Hurt Terribly, I spent years and years living life looking over my shoulder. It so so nice to look forward. Thank you for your hand. I use my other hand to hug you in gratitude.

Okay HurtTerribly, Imara, and all of us who are struggling together, let’s hold hands and “circle our wagons”. HurtTerribly, could we do this on the count of three? I feel a mix of guilt, doubt, and fear but deep in my heart, I know. Time to jump.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for supporting each post that fell beneath the “Peggy Sue” statement with the ensuing article by Dr. Leedom.

At the beginning of this week, consumed with despondency, and remorse for falling into a baited trap 3 years later. After all the work it took to crawl out of the abyss, it took but a phone call to unwind the work and send me sprawling to my knees.

You have each reached out to me, and to each other at the same time. As negative as the experience was, the power to heal as a group, is as positively one of the most astoundingly real and beautiful things we witness together.

That positivity is a a step to another, each comment, each story is like an flower unfurling, its petals respond to the rays of light coming in, and that flower, each one of us, reach toward the sun and begin to grow anew.

For much of the last thirteen years I have lived in darkness. Beaten, tortured, emotionally tortured, given less dignity than the family dog. I had moments where I did recognize the me still inside, but fear overtook every single day of my life.

Sometimes, late at night, especially when he started sleeping in a separate room and I could shut that door, and be in my own space, I would try to stay up all night to experience freedom. Clinging to the window sill, I would look up at the moon, through the passing seasons, and pray to God, to set me free. My words, were exactly that…..”Please Father in Heaven, set me free”.

Providence is a funny thing, arriving when I least expected it. My moment came. I acted quickly, using every emotional tool in the arsenal. I had a good teacher. I outwitted, outsmarted, and played along, I held on during moments where I thought I was bargaining with the devil himself for my freedom. For two weeks, this went on. He was running around with other women, he had a new woman ensconced in Europe ready and waiting, jacked my cell phone bill to 3000.00, tried to rob money, while every day berating me openly, humiliating me in front of my family, and children.

The day came and with his bags packed, he left this house, this country, and the door to my cage was unlocked.

The withdrawals were intense. In six months, I had full blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Clinically diagnosed, I spent three years in therapy. It took at least six months for me to even address what happened to me in the present. I remained a third party observer in my own life. I could not talk about what happened here, in the first person.

Today, I am here because I survived. I count. I am a human being worthy of the RIGHT kind of love. Any love. Love from a pet, a friend, a stranger on the street who smiles. I struggle with self identity and battle with self loathing. But, I know, in my heart, I am good person.

Thank you for listening to me. For caring, for responding, for helping. It is lonely sometimes, but I am very aware I am not in a position to ferret out another psycho/sociopath, and feel terribly selfish about sharing myself so intimately with someone else. There are wounds still, left to heal.

Last night instead of spending hours playing Plants Vs. Zombies on my Ipad, I started to read a book about an angel, and a book about harnessing positivity and self awareness.

Today I went to the beach! I thought of all of you, and wanted to tell you how beautiful it was to simply sit in that beach chair in the sun, and smile.

Thank you, thank you, each of you. I have never spoken about what happened until now, and I have been on this site since before spath psycho maniac left.

I do believe the strength in all of us. I lived it. If it were not for Donna, I would not have been aware that what was happening to me, wasn’t because I was fat, ugly and unworthy of love. I read, I learned, and was able to take that moment, make the right decision finally, and get that horrible evil man out of my life.

Yours,
Hurt Terribly and trying to heal.

MAKES ME SPIT FIRE!!!!!!!!!!
R

Imhope, are you expressing your anger that Hurt was abused?

Wow, Hurt Terribly, Thank you for sharing your experience and your healing path. I can so feel how sitting on the beach in the sunshine, smiling at the world, felt like a radical transformation after all you endured.

This site, and the good work of Donna, Steve, Joyce and others who bring us together has also been what saved me from years of self doubt and recrimination I am sure.

The hair raising stories of betrayal and abuse, emotional rape and fraud, together with the shared stories of survivors who have found their joy again has been a bulwark against the challenges I have faced since jumping off that cliff when I told the Spath it was over.

Like you, there is no one, not one friend or family member I can share it with, at least not the “effect” of what the emotional prison did to me. I can share the mechanics of what happened, but not what it did to my being, my sense of self.

Out in the real world the spaths are running things, and “empaths” as they like to contemptuously call us are considered naive, soft, impractical, uncompetitive.

In the shelter of this place we have all found that the human spirit and the outreach of love can traverse the ether and bring us together in solidarity, not in righteousness or victim hood, but in a head held high attitude of love, love for every being that is innocent and truthful, including ourselves.
Peace and Love,

Hurt,
As I read your post,I found I could Identify with much of what you wrote,and have had similar experiences.

I didn’t start staying up all night until close to the end with spath.Like you,I found I needed that time to refresh my mind with prayer,and to think peaceful thoughts.It was yrs ago that after the children and spath went to bed,I’d go outside,look up to the starry sky and pour my heart out in prayer.

The day I walked out on him,I didn’t have to give it a thought or gather my courage.After fixing his breakfast,and trying to relax enough to eat mine,I choked on rice.He started calling me a drama queen over and over despite the fact that I could have choked to death in front of him!That was it! I walked out that door and the next time I returned it was with the police to gather my clothes!

I was never able to describe my abuse until coming to Lovefraud,and going to counseling.You and Cherith describe it well when you say “emotional prisoner”.I always told people I would rather have been a battered woman.Broken bones,bruises and wounds heal in time.Pictures of those injuries can be taken as records.But emotional abuse is TORTURE!It is unseen,and most people find it hard to believe this is going on right ‘under their noses’…especially if spath wears the mask of charm around them!Once in counseling,I began to understand it was more than emotional abuse.It went beyond to encompass financial control and withholding affection for yrs.But I am healing now.Able to smile,laugh and joke again…be me!

Speaking of Joyce, I can’t recall seeing a post from her for several weeks now. I hope she’s OK. That murderous son of hers was due for a parole hearing some time this year…

Redwald, you’re right. I remember reading about that son and haven’t heard anything since. I hope she’s safe.

One more thing has happened, on top of so many previous things. My son and I went to the bank to check an account he shares with his father. It is Zack’s savings account. All his summer earnings are directly deposited into the account. He has trusted his dad. Sure enough, withdrawals had been made without my son’s knowledge. It sickens me that money is siphoned even from a 17-year-old’s account. I know how the husband will rationalize. He will say that he did it to help someone else or he was under enormous pressure and intended to pay it all back. And the terrible thing is that Zack will forgive him. He wants to trust his father who has taken him completely under his wing after years of neglect. If anything, this gives me the last little push toward the divorce. This story is just the tip of the iceberg.

Blossom, as I read your story it was as though I was reading my own story. Thank you for telling it.

Blossom

There’s a song by an English band I cannot remember their name, but the lyrics go something like “I need someone to recognize the pain in me yeah”.

When others do not see bodily harm, they see on the surface, a happy family, whatever the case is, everybody is lulled into a sense of complacency, no one more than us.

I always found it amazing how far I would go to protect that complacency! To keep the veneer on, so no one saw in at all. Meanwhile, everyone goes home to their little corner, and they live their lives, and you are in agony almost every minute of every day. Your being emotionally waterboarded. How many times does your head have to be submerged, before you realize you are going to drown? Then you become the prisoner, the prisoner in a not so gilded emotional cage.

The ugliness and horror of emotional abuse is unseen to most observing eyes.

I think you are strong, you got your moment, and you went straight for it. Thats you, recognizing the pain in you, and responding to it.

This week was a real eye opener. I thought I had it together, and I didn’t. Im still wounded, still somewhat of a prisoner, in that I reacted to conditioning and it worked. It exposed every vulnerability, I was angry. ANGRY! How could it have been that easy for him to slide in and wreak havoc in a two hour conversation? Then, I thought this, but not until I came in and started talking to everyone, and read those rules: If It took 12 years to condition me, it would be very easy to do it again. Part of me still responds to that conditioning. The difference is we are continents apart. Thank Jesus. I can be despondent, and ponder why, and get up the next day, putting my feet on the floor, slip on my sandals, and start walking in a straight line toward the sun again.

We are all here because we survived/are surviving, are in the beginning of the biggest revelation of our lives, and doing something about it.

Smiling, laughing, joking is an amazing thing. One thing we can all be appreciative about, (great believer in turning a negative into a positive where its applicable): Laughing, joking, smiling is more rewarding now, its also more poignant. It comes from a deeper place of understanding of its intrinsic emotional value.

To be connected to that on a higher level, is very intense an experience.

Hurt

Hurt,
I always tried to keep that “normal appearance”.I realize now that it wasn’t helpful;not to me and not for our girls.Had I let people “see” what was really going on,we never would have stayed as long as we did.I tried to leave many times.But spath,like a mindreader,could always figure out when “something was up”.So to keep the peace,I finally just gave up for awhile.My daughters like me,smiled and laughed,had their life at school,and when they were old enough,at work.

I laugh inside when I remember how we got away once.The oldest daughter was already out of the house.My sister came to visit from out of state.I had been praying again about getting away from spath.Anyway,long story short,my sister knew spath loved to eat,so the night before we left,she bought KFC;lots of it with sides!The next day,the police showed up on the doorstep and asked if it was true I wanted to leave.Threw my husband for a twisted loop!!! 🙂 My sister picked us up and we stayed with her until I got settled.I stayed away for 5 yrs (during which time the other 2 girls finished school and got out on their own).If I hadn’t had an accident and needed someone to live with,I would have stayed away from spath.But we got back together for 4 yrs,during which time he got his revenge!

I have to say, once if realized there was something really wrong with exspath and that the marriage would not work out, which was less than 6 months into it, i no longer put up a front to anyone. Geez, i probably acted like a nut, if a stranger would compliment my wedding ring i would let them know that the ring (that i bought) might be nice, but the marriage was all but nice…i wanted the world to know! I guess i felt if i kept it out in the open that i wouldn’t backslide. Once i caught on, i was done emotionally, unfortunately as usual it took longer than a few months to dig myself out of the hole, but at least my heart was out!
R

Imhope, I can relate to your words quite a bit. My spath knew that according to my value system and the high regard for the sanctity of marriage that my faith holds that once we said ” I Do ” that I would go to extreme measures to make it work. We had constant problems while we were dating regarding her contact, and or conduct with other men. I called the wedding off weeks before and she lied and convinced me that we had finally resolved the issue. Within 2 weeks after the wedding I knew I had a pathological liar on my hands. Like you within 6 months I no longer loved her and didn’t really care to fake it for others. The political posturing and character assassination assaulted my value system, isolated me, and crushed me down spiritually to the point that I no longer felt that I had anything good in my life left. I considered ending my life. Struggled with that for about a year and a half. I even shared that with a few. The fact that I knew pretty early on and was not shy in confronting her and in speaking to others was not that difficult for her to overcome. She had active allies to help her but that is not uncommon. Bottom line is not physically, but in every other way I was crushed, defeated. While I have no malice towards them, many who I have spoken to and known for a decade or even decades include her in their most intimate groups. Who do you think they believe ? She is kind of like a small time local celebrity. Think about it -who’s voice is more powerful, a mere mortal, or one who is godlike ? The winds appear to be shifting here very recently blowing the sweet smell of escape. I’m gettin out one way or another.

Oh for hell sakes Shine, flee that spider’s nest! Don’t let anyone get you that far down! Get up and go. Do you have children? What is keeping you there? You can’t believe how much thinner the air is out here! There is life after psychos, believe it. My feet might not dance but my heart does. Take the step, go….
R

Another great article! After healing and moving on, I find that in non intimate social contact, I can much more easily spot spaths. I actually chuckle now at how boring and self centered they sound in conversation… one even gloating about how he and this girl hit each other for “fun”… ummm really? Can I stick and L on your forehead please! However, in closer friendships I have difficulty determining if someone has just made a mistake or its a sign that danger looms bc there are intentions and agendas like those I missed with my ex. It causes me to judge with scrutiny. Will this pass, or this some new protective mechanism that will remain with me? Thx

Hi Not, Like yourself, I am ‘of a certain age’. I am going to turn around one of your statements: ‘unable to speak our truths even to those close family members ‘ to ‘they are unable/choose not to speak to us’.

I am not shifting blame here, just putting things in another perspective. We have all been through enough to last many lifetimes, but we can not accept sole responsibility.

The latespath needed lots of people to accomplish his evil. From my experience, the latespath could never have done what he did if not for the silence of others; some of the silence was simply fortuitous, luck of the draw, others were chosen because of their vow of silence.

In the beginning, we dated the spath because we made the choice to, before they did/said anything ‘strange’ at least from our view. How many of our families/friends met the ‘spath’ during those early days? I am going to say plenty. I am also going to venture a guess here and say a number of our families/friends, during those initial dates, said something disparaging about our date; especially if this was not their normal reaction.

My mother did just that. The first date I had with the latespath, was to see a movie in NYC that was highly recommended by a professor for a class, on a Sunday afternoon. I came home about 7pm and my mother said to me, ‘I don’t like his hair or jacket, he’s not the same boy’; end of conversation. My mother hated every guy’s clothes and hair in the 1970’s but she never told me why she thought he was not the same boy, how she saw that he changed (we knew each other as kids). Hinted that she ‘saw’ something, but no explanation.

I had the same type of experience with a lawyer the latespath worked with about 10 years later. I had gone to the latespath’s office to give him something and this other gentleman follows me into the hall where he tells me that he doesn’t like some of the things the latespath is doing, nor does he trust one of the guys that he is hanging around with. When I ask him for names and specifics he tells me he can’t and walks away.

After the latespath died, I contacted this other lawyer and he gave me a very detailed explanation. He was right on but unfortunately 22 years too late. He told me that he didn’t feel comfortable talking about this when the latespath was alive.

If people didn’t feel they could share their thoughts about the spath before major damage was done, how can we feel comfortable to confide in them after.

It’s not a matter of us looking foolish, it’s just that many times there are no comfortable, open, lines of communication.

Broad statements maybe easy for people to say, but they really don’t help the person they want to; sweeping words with no examples may actually backfire. If someones sees/feels something hinky about a person their friend, loved one, or acquaintance is ‘involved’ with, the best way to help is to illustrate why the person raises red flags.

How can we comfortably talk to people when in the past they didn’t feel at ease talking to us.

Hmmm, i don’t know about you, but i take NO responsibility, LOL! I was born stupid! And yes, my family did meet the exspath and nobody liked him. My nieces BF even old me that he was using me for a free ride, but i didn’t listen. The one person however that i do sort of have an ax to grind with is his ex wife, who i believe wanted me with him for the same reason he wanted me, because he got money from me for her. She had been living with him as a room mate, which made me figure that if he was a bad guy that she wouldn’t live with him for any reason and who would know him better than her. Now, that she really has less reason to dislike him than then, she says he is a sociopath and that he is dead in her eyes. She has hardly seen him since we married, but tells such a different tale now than then. Whatever her reason is, she doesn’t care to tell, so i’m out of luck getting answers out of her. But, for the most part, i blame him, he targeted me, not me him!
R

Hi Lost Everything,
I was referring to Hurt Terribly’s words, “this is the only place I can talk about this” (paraphrased). I agree with you that there were a few red flags from people who didn’t speak clearly enough for me understand what they meant. But really, I am agreeing with what I understand Hurt Terribly to say. For myself, people who can’t understand the depth of the manipulations are the same ones who say, “you were unhappy, you left him, now move on and quit dwelling on it.” or they say “it didn’t seem that bad to me, he didn’t hit you”.

So to you, I am pretty much saying, I understand your point and I agree with it, but I also understand Hurt Terribly and what I thought she was saying. I don’t blame others for not understanding, I hope they NEVER get into the situation where they have to understand! At the same time, it’s only here on LF that I can share and have others understand. And also where I can sympathize what others have endured, truly endured, b/c I KNOW, rather than merely imagine.

NotWhatHeSaidOfMe
Sad about it, but grateful for the others whom don’t have to talk me into believing them, I am already there.

i had no idea what my husband was until after 13 years i suspected he was having an affair with a work colleague. he denied it of course,told me i was paranoid etc,and then i discovered he was having an affair with a prostitute in kenya[a yearly holiday] and he left and now lives there.over the next few weeks terrible things came out of his computer,hard core porn sites, swingers sites,dating sites,and pictures of his genitals over the internet idiot also posted his face as well so no mistaking who it was. i was absolutely devastated and then advised that i had an std. iam almost 60 years old and am about to lose my home as well so i have come onto this site to try and come to terms with my situation and not feel so isolated. he also made me move home miles away from my family and friends. i dont want to say much more at present cos i will be typing forever more.

e.osborne, there is a lot to be said for the truth, which is a concept your husband is unfamiliar with. The biggest thing is that it sets you free. As painful as it is to realize you’ve been duped, cheated on, lied to, and basically dragged through hell for many years of your life, eventually you will come to realize that (believe it or not) it was not personal. It was just a sociopath doing what he does, and you happened to be in his path. It does not mean you are bad or defective in any way. Rather the opposite, usually people who are drawn to sociopaths are very loving and empathic.

My interaction with the sociopath I knew was very brief compared to yours. But the part that angered me the most was being lied to and deceived. It was unfathomable to me that someone could and would lie so convincingly. That and the waste of time and energy it caused. But as soon as I realized it, I was out the door and never looked back. It took a while to recover because it took a year to turn him in to the army and make sure he was convicted of fraud and adultery (which he was – yay me!). But I have moved on and am very happy now. Five years later, he is nothing more than a fleeting memory. What I have carried away from the experience after recovering my trust and faith in humanity again, is the knowledge that they are out there and how to read the signs. I am much wiser now.

I personally lived as a prisoner for many years, with many years of conditioning. You may ask me “Hurt, how is this possible”? I would say to you, Why do so many battered women not cry out for help? They are conditioned to live in fear. From my experience fear was the primary motivator he used. I lived quite honestly, in fear of my life. There was violence physically, implied and real. His level of violence was so real, so frightening, so malovolent. And it was prefaced with a barrage of conditioning tactics. I never knew what that was, that it had a name, and symptoms, results, until I happened to find Lovefraud.

So I had to opposing tracks of thought running: what I was picking up in here and on the internet. I was the victim of a sociopath, a violent one, I would put that in almost the psychopath category, and a narcissist. As powerful as his tactics were, the desire in me, to find freedom and truth was equally as strong and growing. I had the seeds of truth planted in my brain, it took me that long to process and do something about it.

I didn’t speak to anyone save my daughter, until six months after Spath was long gone. One morning I got up, and couldn’t move. I remember feelings of intense fear, intense shame (this was my fault was the line of reasoning) and a deep horrible grief.

A wonderful therapist in my area saved my life. I think I mentioned before it took close to six months of therapy before I got over disassociation. I would speak of what happened as a passionless third party observer.

we all must understand that each of us comes to terms with, and we deal with what happened in our own unique way. Some can speak out right away and will tell anybody that listens, I applaud you for that ability.

The commonality is that we are all here because of what happened to us. So I am not offended in any way, but I have to really take a stand on identifying that the behavior mechanism in place that causes us to go silent, is a conditioning tactic, a very powerful one.

E osborne, you type away. I did for the first time just this past week.

Dear Hurt, in spite of what you have been through, you have such a positive, forward-thinking attitude. You may find this is your greatest asset in your recovery. Last summer I read Jaycee Dugard’s story about the 18 years in which she was imprisoned by a sociopath and kept as a sex slave. Though it was painful to read, I was so inspired by her attitude and willingness to live in the present moment. Life is so very precious and given to us to enjoy as best we can for the short time we are here. The more joy you can find, even in the briefest of moments, the more it will help pull you through the rest. Of course, it is also so important to honor whatever you are feeling.

You were enslaved for many years, but now YOU get to choose how you want to live your life. I’m very inspired by your story.

Thank you for saying so. Did you ever notice that when you experience a stretch of joy, and then something negative twirls in or life just doesn’t go your way for a while, you remember those pockets of joy and you know you’ll get there again!

Yes, that’s how it works for me too. I also notice that when I’m feeling calm, peaceful, and happy sometimes more pain will come up. At first I felt like I was sabotaging myself. But now I’ve come to realize that stuff comes up when I am strong enough to deal with it, and that’s usually after a period of calm. Nowadays, the thing that happens when I’m happy is that I go into fear suddenly. If I can be aware of the fear and the reason for it, I can usually process it and release it and raise my energy level again. It’s really hard sometimes to recognize and identify fear because……well……it’s scary.

e.osborn,
Welcome to Lovefraud!It may take time to be able to tell your story.I’ve had to tell mine in little bits n pieces,all over this board.The main thing is that you are now free to pursue your own life and put it back together.If you don’t feel up to doing much posting right now,then take advantage of articles in the archives,or else in the toolbar at the top of the page.

thanks for the support,its good to know that there are people who dont think im just bitter,who know what im going through and how hard it is to put a brave front on even when doing mundane things like shopping let alone going to work and trying to appear normal. i sometimes wonder if i will ever be normal again.

E.osborne….welcome to this site. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. We all understand having suffered through this ourselves. It will take time, but you will be normal again.

What these spaths do to us is inconceivable sometimes. Their thought process is so different and sick….it simply takes times to recover.

Keep posting.

Stay strong….

carolann

e I was really concerned about you losing your home. Went through struggling to keep this one for over two years, try any channel necessary, perhaps a refi, the reverse mortgage thing, I dont know what would help you but trying to find some creative solutions for you.

Thinking about you.

Hurt

again thanks for the support, what wonderful people you are,despite your pain you still find time for others. i just wanted to make an observation- since hes been gone i dont appear to lose my keys anymore!!!

e.osborne,
See,already your mind is starting to work as the confusion clears and the synapses connect,lol!

Imprisoned. I don’t think a word in the past 4 years has affected me as much. The latespath, my parents and myself. I had no idea what was happening or why and no one to tell me or help me.

e.osborne, many of us are healers – we are open and caring and therefore are sitting ducks to be hurt. I have accepted that I am this way, and I wouldn’t be any other way. Being a healer, it gives my life meaning to help others. I do this through many areas in my life, but this site is one way I can give. I receive so much by reading these inspirational stories and sharing my thoughts and observations.

Edit: By saying we are sitting ducks to be hurt, I meant we leave ourselves open to be hurt. Poor choice of words.

Star~
You are writing your destiny by saying that. The whole purpose of this website it to learn how to avoid being hurt, not to willfully engage in it! If you keep telling yourself you are here to be victimized, you will be. We are all here to give and to get good things, even you!
R

Imhope, you misunderstood my comment. I was saying that the sensitive, open heart is at risk for being hurt. And people will hurt you because they are human. I choose to be human and to be hurt than to be safe behind my walls where no one can get through. It is impossible to live life fully never being hurt.

I haven’t spoken to my ex in a month. As much as I know I am so much better off without him and it was an act of God that drove us apart, I miss him terribly. I miss the good of course. I’ve been with him for 3 years on and off. I feel like so much of myself and my identify was a part of him. Him and I genuinely have all the same interests and I know I can still have those even without him. I feel like I don’t know where to go from here. I think I’m still in shock that this has happened. I feel so betrayed, so used… He was so verbally abusive but then so amazingly sweet and funny. We’ve dated for 3 years like I mentioned on and off because he would slither his way back into my life, I loved him, believed he changed, so I allowed it. Now I know it’s over. There will be no 4th time. I have not heard from him since moving out of our apartment a month ago. He didn’t know I left, he was out and I had no clue where or with who. I have read so much information, books, been to a therapist and told detailed explanations of my ex ‘a behavior, but it all still doesn’t make me feel better. I can’t accept this. I planned on spending my life with this person. I thought we had each other backs. He would always say ” I’m on your team” Obviously not. I understand his horrible childhood , I get that made him what he is now… But that’s not my problem. When I think about it I feel bad for him, he doesn’t feel bad for me! He can’t. I really feel like I dated a 2 face. I just want to move on from this pain and accept it.

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